If you’ve started to notice a water leak coming from the door of your front-load washing machine during the wash or rinse cycle, you could be experiencing a problem unique to front-load washer owners: a torn or damaged door boot seal. In this article, Repair Clinic will explain the basics about what a door boot seal is and how it works, as well as walk you through, step-by-step, how to replace a damaged boot seal with a new one.
What is a door boot seal and how does it work?
Simply put, a door boot seal is a part made of rubber that is used exclusively on front-load washing machines to provide a water-tight seal between the main outer tub and the door.
The door boot seal is secured by a ring and a spring.
Virtually all washer models use two retainers to secure the door boot seal. A retainer ring secures the front of the seal to the lip of the washer’s front panel while a retaining spring or spring clamp secures the rear of the seal to the edge of the washer’s outer tub.
Useful components may be attached to the boot seal
In addition to providing that water-tight seal, a door boot seal will often feature other useful components needed for proper washer operation. Depending on the model, the seal may have a fill tube inserted through it to allow water to enter the tub, a hole where detergent will be dispensed, a recirculation tube to recycle the water during a wash or rinse cycle, and a hose to provide steam to release deeply-embedded dirt or stains in the laundry load. A drain hose can also be inserted into the boot seal to funnel water away from the door as well as a light bulb to illuminate the inner tub.
An important door boot seal maintenance tip
There is an important maintenance tip you should follow every time you use your front-load washer: right after you’ve taken the laundry out of the tub, use a cloth to wipe down and dry the crevices in the door boot seal and leave the washer door ajar. This will help prevent mold and mildew from forming on the seal and producing an unpleasant odor.
How to replace a front-load washer’s door boot seal
Over time, a door boot seal may become worn and develop tears which are when water can start leaking out of the washer during operation. Since door boot seals are not repairable, a damaged boot seal will need to be replaced with a new one. While this procedure will differ from model to model, Repair Clinic has 36 general instruction steps that a confident do-it-yourselfer can follow to install a new door boot seal to solve that water leak problem:
Accessing the door boot seal
1) Before you begin the procedure of replacing the washer’s door boot seal, be sure to unplug the appliance’s power cord.
2) For most washer models you will need to first remove the appliance’s top panel. Unthread the screws at the rear then slide the panel back and lift up.
3) On some models you will need to remove the control panel as well. To do this, fully remove the detergent dispenser drawer then unthread the dispenser housing screws. Unthread the screws securing the control panel and move the panel out of the way (you may have to disconnect a wire connector to fully remove the panel).
Detaching the front of the door boot seal
4) Use needle-nose pliers, or a spring removal tool, to help remove the retainer ring securing the boot seal to the washer’s front panel.
5) Peel the boot seal off the lip of the front panel.
Removing the washer’s front panel and counter-balance weight
6) Most washer models will now require you to fully remove the front panel. If your model has a pump filter access door, open the door and unclip the drainage tube.
7) Remove the filter housing mounting screw and pull out the housing.
8) With the housing out, unthread the lower front panel mounting screw or screws (on some models, you will need to lift and support the front of the washer to reach the lower front panel mounting screws).
9) Once all of the lower screws have been removed, unthread the upper screws securing the top of the front panel.
10) If applicable to the model, you should now be able to lift the front panel up and out to detach, then disconnect any wire connectors to fully remove the panel (some models may require you to release the wire connector from the door latch assembly before you can fully remove the panel).
11) Some washers will require the removal of a counter-balance weight. Unthread the bolts securing the weight and carefully set the weight aside.
Uninstalling the old door boot seal
12) If required, remove the light assembly from the old door boot seal.
13) Release or remove any retainers securing the drain hose, fill tube, dispenser hose, steam hose, or recirculation hose as applicable.
14) Pull any hoses or tubes free.
15) Loosen the spring clamp screw, if applicable, or use the spring removal tool to extend the retaining spring so you can pull the old boot seal off of the edge of the outer tub.
Preparing the new door boot seal for installation
16) Before you install the new door boot seal, you may need to transfer hose nozzles from the old seal to the new one.
17) Apply some liquid dish soap to lubricate the new seal’s inner groove.
Installing the new door boot seal
18) With the seal’s indicator arrow or mark pointing upward, push the lip of the new seal over the edge of the outer tub and work your way around the entire tub opening.
19) Replace the spring clamp or retaining spring to secure (you can use alligator-style spring clamps to help hold the spring in place as you fully align it).
20) As required, insert and secure the drain hose, fill tube, dispenser hose, steam hose, and recirculation hose.
21) Position the light assembly in the seal as well if necessary.
Reinstalling the counter-balance weight and front panel
22) If applicable, reposition the counter-balance weight on the outer tub and rethread the mounting bolts to secure it.
23) When reinstalling the front panel, you may first need to reconnect the control board wire connector and door latch wire connector.
24) Fully reposition the front panel.
25) If applicable, be sure to reconnect the door latch wire connector after the front panel has been positioned.
26) Replace the screws at the top of the front panel.
27) With the washer supported, replace the screws at the bottom of the front panel.
28) If applicable, rethread the lower mounting screw behind the pump filter housing.
29) Reinsert the pump filter housing and secure it with the screw.
30) Clip the drainage tube into the filter housing and close the cover if necessary.
Replacing the control panel
31) Reinstall the control panel by threading the upper mounting screws as well as those in the dispenser housing.
32) Replace the detergent dispenser drawer.
Securing the front of the new boot seal
33) Align the front portion of the new boot seal on the lip of the front panel.
34) Secure the seal with the retainer ring by aligning the spring at the top then insert the ring into the groove of the boot seal.
Last steps to complete the repair
35) Realign the washer’s top panel and secure it by rethreading the screws at the rear.
36) Plug the appliance’s power cord back into the wall outlet.
When replacing a torn or damaged door boot seal with a new one, you should use a genuine OEM part for the best results. Repair Clinic stocks original manufacturer replacement parts compatible with the most popular front-load and top-load washer models, including those manufactured by Whirlpool, LG, Samsung, Maytag, GE, Kenmore, Bosch, and Frigidaire. To find the exact door boot seal that fits your washer, enter the appliance’s full model number in the Repair Clinic website search bar, then choose “Gasket & Seal” using the “Part Category” navigation filter followed by “Door Boot Seal” using the “Part Title” filter.
Step-by-step guidance from Repair Clinic
If you’re looking for specific step-by-step guidance, maintenance advice, and much more, Repair Clinic directs you to the “Videos & Articles” section of its website. Enter your washer’s model number to view procedural videos like this one demonstrating how to correctly install a new door boot seal on the Model FTF530FS1 Frigidaire Front-Load Washer. Whether you’re a professional technician or a DIYer, Repair Clinic wants to be your repair partner.